Peacock Trattoria, Kyle Bay

25 Kyle Parade, Kyle Bay

Another Friday night venture and this time a trek south of Sydney to the suburb of Kyle Bay. Maybe not the wisest of decisions to head out of town 6pm at this time of the week, but we’d had a recommendation that Peacock Trattoria was worth the effort. Clearly if you make this effort you want it to be worth it.

There’s nothing fancy about this restaurant. It’s a neighbourhood Italian that’s on the tiniest of retail strips. It has a warm inviting glow:

The interior is simple with chic plastic chairs that verge on the uncomfortable, but somehow your bottom adjusts and it’s easy to settle in. There’s a good sense of bonhomie which is created by two relaxed and enthusiastic waitresses. 

There’s a menu to get excited about with traditional Italian food jazzed up with interesting combinations. What’s also more interesting is a ‘trust the chef’ option for a bargain price of $55. With the menu showing a fair bit of ambition it’s an easy choice to make.

The open kitchen is tiny with two chefs and a mini pizza oven to one and we soon get the fruits of its labour with a pizza with red onion & white anchoves

It’s a decent if quite doughy pizza. I generally prefer mine a little thinner, but the flavours are good, if a little full-on. It makes a nice change to have this as an entree.

The meal really gets started with a roast duck salad to share with hazelnuts, witlof and nectarine

This is a triumphant dish. Big bold flavours and contrasting textures. There’s nothing twee about it and it goes down a treat. The duck is crispy, but the meat rare and it combines really well with the fruit and crunchy hazelnuts with the witlof providing a hint of bitterness. I could have eaten this all night.

Next up, another dish to share: Smoked trout rillette with cream cheese, fennel and salmon caviar

Quite an intriguing dish, that flavour wise, initially feels a bit weird with the fish and cheese not the most obvious of bedfellows, but I warm to it. The toast with as much holes as bread, works well and it’s the kind of dish where you spend most of the time trying to balance the ‘salad’ on the bread for the flavour hit. Somehow the oiliness of the trout wins through and it’s a pleasant plate.

Following up the trout we next have scallops with chicken wing, apple, radish and cauliflower puree

First of all, there’s three of them between the two of us. It irks, but nothing to dwell on, considering the atmosphere and the jolliness of the place. The scallops, apple and cauliflower are classic combinations, but the chicken (even though it is delightfully crispy) is maybe one addition too many. Not that I’m complaining, because the chicken wing in its own right is pretty fine. It’s a bit of meal to get everything on one fork, but it’s worth the effort. It’s also not hard to order another class of wine. It is Friday night after all.

Our indivial main course is rump of lamb with caponata, salsa verde and mash

Of its parts it’s lovely. The lamb is excellent, cooked beautifully with a nice jus and a very buttery mash. My problems start with the caponata which is spicey to the point where it overshadows everything else on the plate. So it was something to keep out of the equation of the rest of the plate. So putting that to one side it was a good competent, uncomplicated Friday night main.

Just the one dessert to finish – Cassata with homemade coffee and vanilla ice cream with a grand marnier syrup

This is a nicely old school dessert; something I would never normally order. Not really a fan of coffee ice cream, it’s pretty decent and the whole thing comes together in a pleasing, sweet sticky puddle. It’s a decent way to finish the meal.

This was a restaurant that was worth the effort. There’s some good imagination going on in the kitchen and the dishes. I particularly enjoy the idea of sharing food as part of a tasting menu. It makes the occasion seem more generous and fun. However, I’m not entirely sure if all the combinations worked, with one or two additions too many. But this is a neighbourhood restaurant, not a fine dining haven and I see it as a product of clear enthusiasm as opposed to a smart-arse chef. I hope more people will make the effort to venture down to Kyle Bay.

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